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Buying Windows in Los Angeles, California
Whether you are building, remodeling, or simply replacing old windows, finding the right window should be heavily influenced by the location of your home. Each city and state has their own unique codes, ordinances, and permit requirements to consider. Purchasing windows uniquely designed for the conditions of the climate where you live will ensure your windows will last under the wear and tear of the elements and maximize the energy efficiency of your home. If you are living in Los Angeles, there are unique permit requirements, contractor requirements, and climate characteristics to consider before making a purchase. Continue reading to learn more about buying windows in Los Angeles, California.
Requirements for Replacing Windows in Los Angeles
The permits for installing windows in Los Angeles buildings are outlined by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. If a replacement window is the same size as the previous window and will fit into the spot left behind by the old window, there are no size requirements which need to be consider before installation. If there is a change being made to the size of the window, there are permit requirements outlined by the city of Los Angeles which must be considered, including:
- Rooms with at least 10 square feet of space, which are occupied by a person, must have enough natural light to cover 10 percent of the floor space in the room.
- Rooms with at least 5 square feet of space, which are occupied by a person, must be provided with ventilation through a window which is no less than 5 percent of the floor space in the room. Additionally, rooms which are not occupied by a person, such as bathrooms or storage rooms, must have ventilation equal to 5 percent of the floor space if the room is at least one and half square feet.
- Rooms where a person will be sleeping must have at least one window which opens to the outside and allows for escape in the case of an emergency. The window must open to provide at least 5.7 square feet.
- Any homes or buildings which are located within the boundary of a city airport must comply with the noise resistance guidelines as outlined by the permit requirements of the city of Los Angeles.
Requirements for Contractors Installing Windows in Los Angeles
Each city and state has unique requirements outlined for contractors installing windows in homes and businesses. Before hiring a contractor, make sure they meet these requirements. In Los Angeles, any professional who installs windows is required to hold a current contractor’s license which is issued by the state. The license is a general building license, and the contractor is not required to hold a license specific to window installation.
In addition, if the contractor has employees working for their business, they will need to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance. If a worker is hurt while working on your home, workers’ compensation insurance will protect your from the financial consequences and liability of their injury.
Buying Windows for the Climate in Los Angeles
The greatest variation in the design and construction of a window is seen in relation to varying environmental factors in a region. Los Angeles has an enviable climate, warm, but tolerable, during the summer months, and cold, but mild, during the winter months. The best way to determine whether or not a window will perform efficiently in your climate is becoming familiar with the National Fenestration Rating Council, or NFRC label. On the label, the most important factors to consider are the U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Council.
The U-Factor measures the heat lost or gained through a window. A lower U-Factor number represents a smaller loss or gain of heat through the window. When a window is exceptionally resistant to heat loss or gain, the heating and cooling system of your home does not have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable during summer and winter seasons. This saves you money on your monthly utility bills as well as reducing your dependence on unsustainable energy sources. In Los Angeles, because it is both a heating and cooling region, window should have a rating of no more the 0.50.
The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient measures the amount of solar radiation which is transferred through the window. Even though solar heat can provide free heating during the winter months, it can also overheat your home during the summer months. The desired SHGC rating varies from region to region and is also affected by shading and orientation towards the sun. In Los Angeles, windows purchased should have a SHGC rating of no more than 0.30.
Also on the label is a condensation resistance, or CR, rating. This rating indicates the windows ability to prevent the formation of condensation on the inside components of the window. Unnecessary moisture can cause damage to your windows, including mold and mildew. Because Los Angeles has a climate which has an above average humidity when compared to other areas of the country, a higher condensation resistance rating is always better.
Keep in mind that, when you plan to replace your windows or purchase new construction windows for the remodel or new building of a home, it is always best to choose the most energy efficient model. This is especially true in Los Angeles, where steps towards green living are being taken very seriously through constantly changing building codes aimed at creating a more sustainable way of living across the entire city and the state of California.